Hard Reality

I’ve been hesitant to share this information because my heart is already SO invested, and in some weird way, if I share this news, then I am getting more invested.

But then I realize, this is just crazy talk. Because the fact of the matter is, my heart is already 100% captivated.

And should things take a turn for the worse, at least I can be real and authenticate on here too and have some extra support.

So here’s my news:

This is Mable.

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Mableine Midnight is her full name; Mabel for short. Isn’t she just the sweetest?!

Mabel was found on the side of the road by a fellow firefighter that works with FirefighterDad. Knowing I’m a huge dog-lover, FirefighterDad sends me a picture

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Doesn’t she just have the sweetest face? 

Evidently, Mabel came right up to the firefighter and he was able to pick her up and put her in his truck. He then took her to the station and FirefighterDad got her over to our vet.

Mabel is still at my local vet healing. She was hit by a car almost two weeks ago and this sweet girl has gone through A LOT. Like a lot A LOT.

She has a broken pelvis and sacrum, had to get spayed because the impact of the car caused the placentas to detach from her uterus – so yes her puppies couldn’t be saved. This caused intense hemorraging and infection so a spay was our only option to help save Mable.

As Mable was recovering from this surgery, the vet found out Mable is urinary and fecal incontinent. This is due to nerve damage. For dogs, a large bundle of nerves runs through the sacrum. These nerves control the anal sphincter muscle, bladder muscles, the tail and the hind quarters. Our vet got a second opinion on Mabel’s prognosis and the reality is we won’t know if this is permanent damage or temporary unless we give her body time to heal. So at a minimum, we wait for 30 days. She has a lot of swelling and naturally a lot of trauma on her backend. We’re praying this is temporary and if she doesn’t get 100% function back, we’re hoping she gets enough where she has a great quality of life.

Then, in the midst of getting the second opinion on Mabel’s nerve damage, the vet informed me Mabel’s bladder ruptured. Mabel became sick very very quickly. Ultimately a decision needed to be made ASAP – exploratory surgery to see if the bladder was repairable, or letting her go. Here is when I started crying buckets because my heart hurt. Mabel is the sweetest little girl and probably only 2-3 years old. She has SO much life left to live.

FirefighterDad and myself, along with my mom and a couple other firefighters went up to see Mabel and say our good byes. The decision was ultimately made to try the surgery and should Mabel’s condition be too far gone, the vet would let her go on the table. We decided this was the most humane way to handle any unexpected complications, but it also gave Mabel a solid fighting chance.

This is getting to be a really long post but in the end Mabel pulled through surgery beautifully! And the vet said it was a really simple repair and more than likely Mabel had a compromised part of her bladder from the impact of the car, so her bladder was a ticking time bomb.

I went  to go see Mabel the next day and she looked SO much better. She was resting comfortably and was even eating!

When I would pet her and love on her, she would relax her head on my hand and doze off a little.

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The instant I pulled my hand back or stopped petting her, she would open her eyes and lift up her head like “why’d you stop?”

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One of the vet techs said she’s very needy and likes her pets. And to that, I say yes she is but rightly deserved!

The vet office was closed yesterday so I couldn’t go see my sweet girl, but the game plan was to continue IV fluids and antibiotics, continue oral pain meds since she was willingly eating (!) and let her rest. Her IV fluids were able to be lowered because her kidney values were heading in the right direction. So all this is positive and Mabel is a tough little girl. I’m going to go give her a visit and some well earned pets today!

Please keep Mabel in your thoughts as she continues this long road of recovery. She’s not out of the woods yet, but she is proving to be a very tough dog and has captured my heart.

 

Any other dog owners/dog-lovers?

Anyone have funny/sweet dog stories to share?

 

Freezer Cooking Part 3

I know.

know.

Why should you get your hopes up about this post after the debacle of  Part 2?

And all I can say is that on this particular day I got my crap together and took pictures like a boss. Like a Big Bad Blogging Boss (nice alteration, huh?).

I started with cooking 2 boxes of pasta and 2.5 lbs of ground beef.

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Once these were done, drained, and cooled a bit, I made my ricotta cheese mixtures with I snuck in some blended cauliflower for an added punch of veggies.

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I added two eggs, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano to the ricotta cheese. The unpleasant orange glob is my blended cauliflower. I had to add some tomato sauce to it for some liquid.

Then began the assembly of Lasagna Cups for Diapers! I mixed meat, sauce, ricotta cheese, and pasta in a bowl then spooned some into paper muffin cups.

I topped it with some shredded cheddar cheese and baked them at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. These smelled incredibly and FirefighterDad actually ate one and the best part?! He didn’t notice the cauliflower!!

While the cups were baking, I also made Lasagna Casseroles. Or Baked Ziti with meat? Either way they looked good and will be super simple dinners.

I started with a thin layer of sauce, followed by pasta, ricotta cheese, meat, sauce, pasta…well you get the idea.

I then topped them with shredded cheddar cheese, sprinkled some basil and oregano on top and wrapped these bad boys up for the freezer.

My final freezer cooking for the day was making Mac and Cheese cups for Diapers. I saved some of the cooked pasta and made a simple homemade cheese sauce with butter, milk (lactose free for Diapers), shredded mozzarella and shredded cheddar cheese, added in the pasta, stirred and plopped them into paper muffin cups. I topped them with a small slice of cheddar cheese and baked them at 350 for about 20 minutes until the cheese was ooey-gooey and melted.

And folks, that concluded my freezer cooking for the day. I had everything cool completely them put the cups into freezer bags.

 

What are some simple lunches you make for your kids?

What casseroles do you enjoy for dinner?

Freezer Cooking Part 2

Sit back and buckle up for another freezer cooking post!

I got this wild hair up my butt and decided to make mini pizzas and cinnamon rolls – so far, no.big.deal.

Well, here’s the catch: I decided to make homemade dough. Say what?! I know, but for realz I did. With yeast and rising and kneading and all.

Andthe worst part?! I took exactly ZERO pictures of this process. None. Nada. Zilch.

So freaking lame.

So you’ll just have to trust me that I did in fact make enough pizza dough for 10 small pizzas and one large pizza.

And since I was already elbow deep in flour, I also made cinnamon roll dough that made 60…yes SIXTY rolls and a loaf of common swirl bread.

The pizza dough was top notch and the cinnamon roll although very good, was a little dry for my preference.

So the moral of the story here, is that you will have to trust me that I did in fact spend an entire afternoon cooking and I have a shit ton of frozen cinnamon rolls 😀

Since this is a really boring and lame post skip right head to the next one – Part 3. I promise this one has ample pictures!

Freezer Cooking Part 1

Bedrest is still going ya’ll. I’m 31 weeks today (yay!), baby boy is doing really well, and all in all I’m stable. I feel miserable, but I’m stable so I’ll suck it up and continue bedresting a few more weeks of growing this precious boy!

In the meantime I have been on a mission to prepare me and Diapers for Baby Brother’s arrival by doing some freezer cooking. I first started freezer cooking a few years ago after reading Money Saving Mom‘s blog. She has some great ideas and it really is a huge help. With a 4 year old and soon to have a newborn, I knew I needed to get a jump on this.

I wanted to make fun, nutrious, simple, cost effective, and easy lunches that Diapers could reheat in the microwave by himself.

Enter my muffin pans.

I had a box of Jiffy cornbread mix and some BOGO hot dogs so I decided to try making corn dog muffins. I’ll admit the final product looked and smelled WAY more appealing than the uncooked/being assembled “muffins” looked.

Here’s how I did it:

First, I mixed up the box of Jiffy (how good is this cornbread?! It’s my fave and SO ridiculously easy to make!). Then I spooned a small amount in the bottom of each muffin wrapper. On top of that I cut up half a hot dog per muffin and then topped each muffin with the remaining cornbread mix.

The end result smelled just like a corn dog, and although I haven’t tried them, Diapers LOVES them!

FYI, I baked these at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Since I already had the oven on, I also made a double batch of my homemade granola.

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If you love granola, stop what you are doing and make this NOW. Seriously, you will not be disappointed. This granola is on point, simple, and the best.I’ve.ever.had. For realz.

And it’s more of a mix-it-together-and-fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants recipe, which is just my style.

I use oatmeal (original, quick cook, steel cut – whatever floats your boat)

Butter (I’ve also used half butter and half coconut oil)

Brown sugar

Ground Cinnamon

I mix the oatmeal, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate microwave safe bowl, I melt the butter then pour this over my dry ingridents. I mix this up incorporating the butter to moisten the oatmeal. I seriously just eyeball amounts. If it looks like I don’t have enough liquid I melt more butter. The idea is to get the oatmeal damp not soaking wet.

I pour it onto cookie sheets, smooth it out and bake for about 15 minutes on 425 until it’s a nice golden brown. I let it cool for about 10 minutes so the melted sugar can set a little, then with a spatula I mix it up crumbling it along the way. I put it in freezer ziplock bags and freeze it when it’s completely cooled off. It also keeps in the fridge well.

Other add-ins I have done is honey, milled flaxseed, and protein powder. I also want to try tossing in some raw quinoa for a protein source.

 

What are some simple re-heatable lunches  that you rely on?

Anyone else do some freezer cooking?

Ebates

First, Happy (belated) Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there!! I hope you enjoyed your day and got pampered.

Now, have you heard of Ebates? I want to say I have seen a TV commercial for this particular cash back rebate system, but I can’t be sure.

Anyways, my sister sent me her referral link and after perusing Ebates and knowing I was going to make an Amazon purchase for some baby stuff, I figured what did I have to lose?

So, I signed up and followed the Ebates link to Amazon.com and using my Amazon  gift cards* I made my purchase. About a week later I had $1.77 in my Ebates account as my cash back! For not spending a dime of my own money and actually earning money by shopping, I was sold!

If you’re interested in giving this a shot, here’s my referral link:

http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=dqenw9ocp2F8kq3O1xTebg%3D%3D&eeid=29773

If you are already doing some shopping take a peak in Ebates first. My sister actually prefers this to Swagbucks and highly recommends it. I do like my Swagbucks, but I’m very impressed with Ebates too!

Along with the baby items I bought I also bought Diapers reusable food pouches. He loves the baby food pouches and honestly I love them because they are super convienent and an easy way to get an assortment of fruit and veggies into him. But at roughly $1.00 a piece and down to one income, I am trying to be creative in ways to save some money. Since these pouches were weekly snack purchases for Diapers this was an easy way to save quite a bit in our groceries.

After reading many Amazon reviews I went with the WeeSprout Nature’s Little Squeeze pouches. I opted for the largest size which is 7 oz and am VERY pleased! These are made by a small mom and pop business based in the US. The customer service was excellent and the product is fantastic. Easy to fill, easy to wash, free of BPA and other yuckies, dishwasher safe, freezer safe, and a universal cap size.

imageTo start off, I made my own Greek yogurt with fruit and filled these bad boys up, and they are Diapers approved which makes me very happy!

 

*Be sure you read the fine print on Ebates cash back offers; not all qualify for cash back when making purchases using a gift card – I honestly lucked out on this. There are also exceptions on every offer I e seen but they are reasonable.

 

Fill me in on what’s going on with you?

WIC Take 2

Every month I get WIC vouchers for both me and Diapers. Last month I got them half way through April so I used them all at once. This month I ended up doing the same thing because I had some freezer and pantry items I wanted to eat through and my house was bare. Bare ya’ll.

This method makes for a longer grocery shopping trip and requires me freezing quite a few items, but it also is at the mercy of what items are listed on what WIC voucher. For example, if I need cheese, I have to get all the items on that voucher to maximize it.

So this month to stretch my WIC vouchers even further I used them with my local grocery store’s BOGO sales! And yes you can do this!! The lady at the WIC office even mentioned this and you can use coupons on WIC items. How awesome!

One big BOGO was WIC approved cereal. Diapers and I each get 36 oz of cereal per month, or 3 12oz boxes. With the BOGO sales I walked away with 8 boxes of cereal instead of 6.

Juice was also BOGO so I was able to get 4 bottles of juice versus our normal 2.

Some of the BOGO deals weren’t on qualifying WIC items which was disappointing, but I was still able to get some good deals.

This is the first month I got EVERY item on each of our WIC vouchers and all together it came out to be $139.99 that WIC covered.  That’s a pretty good savings!

I also had to do some regular shopping:

Bagels – reduced by $1

Spinach

Tomatoes

3x 2.5lb packages ground beef – each reduced by $3 (total of $9 savings)

Whole cut up chicken – reduced by $3

BOGO Pork Tenderloins – $6.27 savings

BOGO Smithfield Bacon – $5.50 savings

Sausage – 2 for $7

BOGO 16 oz Lunch Meat – $5.00 savings

BOGO ice cream – $2.95 savings

BOGO Italian ice – $1.88 savings

BOGO Vlasic pickles stacked with a $1/2 coupon – $2.50 savings

BOGO Cheese Its (Diapers’ request) -$2.60 savings

BOGO Mission tortilla chips

Pepperoni – 2 for $5.00

Simply Orange Juice (FirefighterDad’s fave OJ) – 2 for $6.00

2 boxes Capri suns – coupon $0.75/2

Kraft American Cheese – coupon $1.00/2

Butter – 2 for $6.00

Daisy sour cream – $0.64 savings

Toaster Strudels – not on sale just a pregnancy impulse purchase

2 pk cream cheese – coupon  $1.00 off 2pk

I got a few other random things but basically, I bought a lot of groceries. With all the meat and produce items, I was expecting to pay about $250 for these groceries.

After all was said and I done I paid $140.71 for these groceries!!! This accounted for a total savings of $69.94!! Say what?!!

This was not only a pleasant suprise with all the meat I bought, but it was a defining moment – WIC saved me just as much money as I spent. This is huge!

I know WIC is only a supplemental food allowance but since it covers produce (we got mangos, a pineapple, potatoes, avacados, spinach, cucumbers, and bananas), milk for both me and Isaac (all together 7.5 gallons of milk a month), dairy (yogurt, cheese, eggs), cereal, bread (or rice, pasta, tortillas – your choice), beans, peanut butter, and juice, it still saves a significant amount of money on food staples every month.

I’m really happy with my bargain shopping, penny pinching and grateful for WIC. I am guessing with what I have purchased, we have groceries for 3-4 weeks with the exception of additional fresh produce.

Do you have any bargain shopping stories, tips, or tricks?

Random post + what I’ve been up to + some pictures

So bedresting is getting harder and harder. I’m getting antsy, I have the most uncomfortable couch ever, and I am getting antsy.

So, every once in a while I get up and do something productive…

I have scoured Pintrest for firefighter themed DIY decorations for Diapers’ birthday party and came out successful.

We made pretzel matchsticks

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Then made a “fire truck, ambulance, police car” cake at Diapers’ request

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with a real graham cracker house on fire! We also had “fire hoses” (twizzlers), “fire balls” (Cheeto balls), and “fire truck tires” (mini chocolate donuts) in the goodie bags.

Diapers requested “construction” sheets for his big boy bed so Nana came through and found some really cute ones at a decent price (who knew full size sheets were so expensive?!) for his bday. That meant his bed had to get out together. Not to mention the crib kinda needs to get out together for Baby Boy too.

So here’s the bed progress:

Since Diapers is in the 85+% for his height, and we didn’t want to buy tons of beds/furniture, FirefighterDad and I decided to go ahead and buy a full size bed. It’s about the biggest bed that will fit in Diapers’ room and gives him TONS of growing room. Plus this captain’s day bed came with able storage and we got it during a close out sale which means we got a FANTASTIC deal!

Diapers’ room also needed some organizing. His toys were in open baskets and canvas totes for years but that meant when he cleaned up, toys got mixed up and tossed into random totes/trucks/cubbies/etc and it drove.me.nuts. So a few bucks for plastic containers and some organizing, his toys and closet looked SO much better!

The first picture is his shelf of books and containers of toys and the second of his closet. I wish I would have gotten some before pictures, but just trust me, this is a million times better!!

We also got down and dirty and fixed my washing machine! It was going off balance on every load and really concerning me because we can’t exactly afford a new one. Since FirefighterDad was working overtime and busy, my mom and I decided we could fix it after viewing some YouTube videos and investigating the problem. The BEST part?! It cost me $0.00! So I found the tension rods online at a store that takes payment through PayPal. Remember all those grocery rebate apps I use? Well, I had over $100 in my Paypal account so the $70 parts were FREE! I love repairs like that!

Here’s my awesome Mom hard at work as I stand by all preggo snapping pics.

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There’s also been some cooking. I’d like to have a stocked freezer for when Baby Boy arrives and I loath wasting food and I had some left over hamburger and hotdog buns that need to be eaten so I introduced my mom to my French toast casserole. This was by far my best one. Even though buns aren’t all that healthy, they make a great casserole!

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There’s also been pool days, dog baths, and sun soaking because I can only watch so much Netflix and sitting inside.

Speaking of Netflix, I recently found Hart of Dixie. Any other recommendations?

And one final pic – a belly shot of Baby Boy at 27 weeks.

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I will be 30 weeks on Friday. He’s still cookin’!

Fill me in on what’s been happening with you!

29 weeks and counting…

I’m still stable and still at home – yay! But y’all, I am uncomfortable. Like a rock stuck in my shoe and a monkey on my back uncomfortable. I hate to complain, I really do because this little boy is still in his water bed growing, healthy, happy, and ALIVE. And that is, well that is sweet relief.

BUT pregnancy is hard. This 2lb 7oz little love is head down using my bladder has a pillow and doing a number on my pelvis. The pressure is unreal and the constant ache is, well constant.

BUT, I’m still pregnant and I’m grateful for that. So for as long as he is willing to chill out, I will continue bedresting and feeling his little hiccups.

Some Fun Facts:

29 weeks 2 days

Gained 13 pounds so far

Belly button still an innie

Maxi skirts are my life

I can still see my toes

No stretch marks (yet)

Dark circles are always under my eyes

Thank goodness for my Temperpedic bed

 

In other news, Diapers’ had his 4th birthday (say what?!) and his party at FirefighterDad’s station and it turned out awesome. It was small, low key, and the kiddos had fun. Oh, and thank you Pintrest Angels for your inspiration! Also, Diapers is officially in his big bed – a full size captains day bed. It’s pretty awesome!

I will post some bday pics and recent happenings soon but until then enjoy my wit and sarcasm 😉